Thursday, February 7, 2013

Paleo Indonesian-Style Shrimp Salad

Today's recipe is the perfect example of how you can often customize "regular" recipes to make them paleo-friendly. Elana Amsterdam had a great recent post to this point on her blog; she feels that she posts so many paleo baked goods recipes largely because so many recipes exist in cyberspace and beyond that can technically qualify. Protein, vegetables, minimal other stuff... good to go.

I clipped this shrimp salad recipe from Food & Wine magazine a number of years ago, before paleo had even entered my radar. I was already eating almond instead of peanut butter, and other than that it needs few tweaks to be considered paleo-compliant as well.

The sauce has a ton of flavor and could be used on a number of other dishes and salads as well (it reminds me a bit of Melissa Joulwan's sunshine sauce). You can fiddle with the spice level by upping or reducing the amount of chile-garlic sauce and palm sugar added. I actually hardly add any sweetener, and like the sauce just fine without it (which would make it appropriate for a Whole30 challenge).

Paleo Indonesian-Style Shrimp Salad
adapted from Food & Wine

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. raw almond butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. unsweetenened coconut milk
1 1/2 tbs. fish sauce
1 tsp. sambal oelek or Chinese chile-garlic sauce 
1 1/2 tbs. fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish 
2 tsp. palm sugar (omit for Whole30)
3 carrots, coarsely shredded 
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks 
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into fine matchsticks 
1 pound cooked large shrimp, shelled and halved lengthwise 
2 romaine hearts, coarsely shredded
chopped scallions, chopped raw cashews and cilantro leaves, for garnish 
In a blender, combine the nut butter with the coconut milk, fish sauce, sambal oelek, lime juice and sugar and puree until smooth. Transfer the dressing to a large bowl. 

Add the shredded carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, shrimp and romaine and toss well. Garnish the salad with scallions, cashews and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.  

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